GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City School Board of Education voted to pass a resolution prior to the Christmas break urging the Ohio General Assembly to change existing laws in how it handles charter schools and its funding of such organizations.
According to documents obtained by the Daily Tribune, board members voted unanimously to pass the resolution. The resolution urged “the Ohio General Assembly to directly fund charter schools in the amount of the full-per-pupil character school payment and stop including charter students in a school district’s funding and deducting from it.”
Information provided by the board said that the state provides roughly $5,500 per student funding from the state to school districts, but deducts nearly $6,500 from the Gallipolis City School district’s state funding when a student enrolls in a charter program who would normally be in the public school. Local taxpayers are then expected to make up the difference.
According to Gallipolis City Schools Superintendent Roger Mace, charter schools have relaxed performance standards versus traditional public schools. To him, public school systems provide better educational opportunities to students and the current way law has been established around charter school systems has harmed public schooling as well as its funding.
Charter schools lack some of the standards of public schooling to arguably provide a chance for alternate teaching methods. Advocates argue this allows students to have more freedom and creativity when learning.
According to Mace, roughly 44 students in the Gallipolis City School District are attending some form of charter school. This has resulted in a loss of approximately $327,000 from the district’s funding. Many of these charter schools are online programs.
The resolution further prompted the state Legislature to “limit the per-pupil charter school deduction to the actual per-pupil amount the school district has received from the state, with any additional dollars needed to meet the established per-pupil funding for character school students to be provided through a separate state budget line-item, especially for charter schools.”
According to Mace, the board is joining a growing number of discontent public school boards across the state in concern with school funding and student performance. He believes charter schools receive more funding than traditional public schools and the actions are politically driven.
The city school district is sending a message to the Ohio Department of Education in the form of an invoice billing ODE for funds lost due to charter school funding. That amount totals around $1.6 million. The amount equals the estimated funding lost over the last five years in the form of nearly $320,000 a year for Gallipolis City Schools.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.